Thirsty Soil

By September 13, 2019Blog

Late summer and early fall can be particularly hot and dry in this part of the country. Now more than ever, your turf needs thorough and consistent watering.

Your lawn needs water in the root zone, not just at the surface. How long it takes you to water correctly is determined by what kind of soil you have and how long it takes to get it properly saturated. Your soil can be classified as: clay (dense soil with few air spaces and very small, tightly packed soil particles); loam (an open mix with adequate air space for water and nutrients to move); or sandy (very loose and open with little water-holding ability). The type of soil makes a big difference in how often you should water.

When you water, it’s important to soak the soil to a depth of at least six inches and to let the surface dry out between waterings. Clay soils absorb water very slowly because there are only tiny spaces between the soil particles for the water to move through. It takes a lot longer to soak a heavy clay soil to the six-inch depth, but once soaked, the clay soils hold the water much better and need fewer waterings.

Loam might be the ideal soil for turfgrass. It’s usually dark, has organic material and provides good drainage and air movement for turfgrass roots. Sandy soils are so open and loose that they can absorb water as fast as you can put it on, but they dry out much faster, too. To test how long it takes to soak your lawn six inches deep, you could use a spade or a soil probe after watering to see just how deep you’ve gone.

Familiarity with your lawn’s soil type allows you to set your watering schedule so that your turf gets what it needs over these dry, hot months.